How to Deploy High-Definition Voice

By Jeffrey Rodman  |  Posted 2009-01-19 Print this article Print

High-definition voice is gaining traction in the communications industry. IT managers should know that high-definition voice maintains compatibility with existing systems, so the transition to it is quite straightforward. But, as seamless as the transition may be, Knowledge Center contributor Jeffrey Rodman explains that there are ways to smooth the transition process further. Here he offers some of the most important points IT managers should consider when deploying high-definition voice.

Calling all IT managers: I have some good news for you if you're thinking about deploying High-Definition Voice in your organization. The move from standard narrowband audio to HD is much easier than the original shift from POTS (plain old telephone service) to VOIP to (voice over IP).

Why? Because HD Voice (also known as Wideband Audio Telephony) uses existing standard VOIP signaling, protocols and networks to carry its enhanced audio bandwidth. So, in many ways, once you've made the move to VOIP, you've already done most of the legwork in deploying HD Voice.

HD Voice makes talking on the phone far more productive and much more pleasant than what you're used to because it restores the two-thirds of the audio spectrum that conventional phones take out. HD Voice makes talking on the phone sound as if you're in the same room as the person on the other end. If you haven't experienced HD Voice yourself, think of High-definition Television (HDTV) or High Definition Radio (HD Radio). Once you've heard and seen the difference, you realize exactly what you were missing. As a result, HD Voice is gaining traction in the communications industry.     

The good news for IT managers is that HD Voice maintains compatibility with your existing systems, so the transition is quite straightforward. In fact, it's relatively simple because the protocol is still standard Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). Even better, the data rates are generally comparable to standard G.711. This is a little-known fact-many IT managers incorrectly assume that bandwidth requirements are higher but they are not, so take note!

But, as seamless as the transition may be, there are always ways to smooth the transition process further. So let's take a look at some of the most important points to consider, starting with some hardware considerations.

Jeffrey Rodman is Co-Founder and CTO of the Voice Division at Polycom. Jeffrey has been at the forefront of audio and video communications for most of his career. Following a BSEE Cum Laude and MSEE in Electronic Engineering from CSUN, Jeffrey spent six years developing and enhancing video and test capabilities for military-guided missile systems for Hughes Aircraft Company. During this time, Jeffrey also created a novel approach to sound synthesis that formed the foundation for his Master's thesis. Jeffrey also co-founded Specialty Video Systems to market digital video effects to the entertainment industry. In 1980, Jeffrey joined Harris Video Systems where he became Director of Engineering, pioneering new digital video processing systems for broadcast and production applications. In 1984, Jeffrey was recruited to build a hardware engineering organization and implement a revolutionary architecture for the then-new startup PictureTel (later PicTel), building the foundation for a family of systems that has transformed the videoconferencing industry. Jeffrey continued on as Director of Hardware Development through PictureTel's formative years. Jeffrey co-founded Polycom in 1990, and has been instrumental in the realization of Polycom's iconic products for voice, video, network communications and other media. He can be reached at

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